Sports

UMFK men’s basketball faces ‘most difficult schedule’ yet in quest for national title

The University of Maine at Fort Kent men’s basketball team has been on the brink of a national championship each of the last two years.

The Bengals reached the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association’s semifinals in both 2016 and 2017 before having their season ended, in 2016 in double overtime and last winter by a five-point margin.

Fifth-year coach Tom Bird hopes a hardened schedule and a productive recruiting class will help UMFK take the final steps to a national title.

UMFK’s 2018-2019 non-conference schedule is particularly notable for its challenges, with two NCAA Division I opponents (Liberty University of Lynchburg, Virginia, and UMass Lowell). It also includes two NCAA Division II foes (Florida schools Eckerd College and Embry Riddle University), as well as three nationally ranked NAIA programs (Life University of Marietta, Georgia; Stillman College of Tuscaloosa, Alabama; and St. Thomas University of Miami Gardens, Florida.

“We’ve kind of taken the motto here that we will play anyone, anytime, anywhere,” Bird said.

Games against NCAA Division I programs are nothing new for the Bengals. Last year UMFK traveled to America East power Vermont and dropped a 90-54 decision in a game for which the team received a reported guarantee of $3,000 to help offset program expenses.

To read the rest of “UMFK men’s basketball faces ‘most difficult schedule’ yet in quest for national title,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Ernie Clark, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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